tv Real Money With Ali Velshi Al Jazeera December 3, 2013 7:00pm-7:31pm EST
>> this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris with your top stories. detroit faces tough decisions after the federal judge accepted it's bankruptcy filings. the city is $18 billion in debt which will include cuts to pensions. the engineer in control of the train that derailed outside of new york city found himself nodding just before the accident. and at the white house many called on president obama to help free alan gross. he has been held in a cuban prison for four years is facing
a 15-year prison. forensic scientists in fran say yasser arafat died of natural causes and was not poisons which contradict swiss findings that found high levels of polonium. thailand's prime minister yingluck shinawatra has alreadied police to stott fighting with protesters. david shuster i is in for ali velshi. >> public pensions are on the chopping block. tonight a landmark ruling for detroit. a new legislation in illinois will have big i a implications r
retirees and pensioners everywhere. the seismic shift making pushy car dealers the thing of the past. i'm david shuster in for ali velshi. and this is "real money." >> this is real money, and you are the most important part of the show. so join our live conversation for the next half hour on twitter @aj real money. today the city of detroit got the go ahead from a federal judge to shed billions of dollars in debt in the largest bankruptcy in u.s. history. the national implications are huge because it sets the stages for financially strapped cities and states all across american to follow the same path and cut the money promised to unions, pension funds and retirees. in illinois, they ray proved the
overall of the pension system and puerto rico deals with public debt as well. but nowhere are the debt woes as dire as in detroit. $18 billion in debt, and estimates $0.40 of every dollar collected are used to pay it off. that zaps funding for basic services and it could rise to $0.65 i$0.65 of every dollar iff does not come soon. today's ruling allows the city to go ahead with bankruptcy proceedings, the presiding judge said that the city would not have a you blank check. unions are not so sure. what's the latest from where you are. >> reporter: well, david, he immediately the city's emergency manager kevin orr is going to start working on a plan of
adjustment or reorganization plan for the city, and he hopes to have a plan in place by the end of the year. he said repeatedly today he wants this plan to be consensu consensual, he wants to bring everyone to the bargaining table, the unions and creditors, he wants it as humane as possible but he couldn't make promises to people. you could interpret that as meaning everybody could take some sort of a haircut. >> and the unions, they're not waiting. they're head to go federal court to try to appeal this? >> reporter: yes, the first union to say that they're going to appeal the decision, and others are likely to follow. >> what has been the reaction from people as far as concerned about the future of the city of detroit, and how do you attract firefighters and police and other city workers if they know that future pensions could be in jeopardy? >> reporter: well, that's difficult, you know, we'll start with the retirees. they're making between anywhere
$19,000 to $9,000 a year. i talked to a couple of retirees who said if our pensions are cut we may not be able to pay our mortgages, we may have to leave the city. the city has lost 25% of its population since 2000. on the other hand you have millennials that the city is trying to attract downtown. companies like quicken loans, have been offering and need young people to move down here. they want the city to right it's financial situation. everyone has a stake in this. the retirees, the municipal workers have a stake, and people who don't work in the city but just live in the city have a stake in this. >> diane estherbrook in the city of detroit, we thank you. detroit's bankruptcy developments have wider implications for the rest of the country.
in illinois lawmakers narrowly passed that state's own pension crisis. en estimated $100 billion shortfall, the worst by far for any state in the union. they pushed back the retirement age for workers using a sliding scale. retirees will see their cost of living increases replaced by portion of benefits based on the number of years worked on the job, and current workers could stop their pension plans and switch to retirement plans. the state's public sector say they will challenge the illinois law in court. it affects only illinois state workers but right now pension funs for chicago city workers including police and firefighters are short of meeting their obligation by $19.5 billion.
chicago mayor rob emmanuel said, the pension process is not solved until relief is brought to chicago and local government across the state. that concerned police veterans like lieutenant maloney. he joins us now from chicago. jim, first of all, your reaction to what the state of illinois did as far as their efforts to solve their debt crisis. >> as far as the pension underfunding. it's a result of mismanagement by the cities, by the states, the cities and states, they have used pension funds as negotiation tools over the years in lieu of wage increases. they've granted pension benefits. that's created this problem. we're here there today. i sit on former mayor dalye's commission to strength committee's pension from 2008 to 2010 we did a report.
that report made some suggestions that that administration did not follow with any of those suggestions. one of those was to increase our contribution. and none of those suggestions were followed through with. >> is that something that you would support, in other words, increasing your contribution, having the fire, police raise that number? >> well, our association said ask the city to sit down and negotiation and talk about these issues. and we have not had any success sitting down with the city at all. it is something that we definitely talked about a. >> when you see what is happening in detroit, statewide in illinois, and the fears of what may happen to you and your colleagues on the force in chicago. >> it could be a tragedy for a number of individuals, especially if you're already
retired. you're counting on that pension check. you've already made your lifestyle adjustments. you can't come back on the job. you know, you're already retir retired. it can be very tragic. whether it be cost of living and our fire police an, not everyons eligible for a cola. >> would you support what the state of illinois did today. that is raising retirement age. when joining the force now you'll have to work a few years longer in order to close this pension gap. >> in january 2011 legislation was passed that did create a second tier for you new hirees for the police department. they do have to work longer. we signed up for these benefits. we've put our lives on the line. i know a number of officers who have been seriously injured, some of them killed, and missed
family events and everything else. but at the end of the day we knew that our pensions would be there for ourselves and our families. to cut those bent benefits righw in the middle of this is a total tragedy. >> in order to keep the pensions to you, would you support a cut of city converse, closing down schools, garbage pick up and other things that cost the city of chicago a lot of money? >> you know, again it's a matter of everybody coming to the table which the city has not offered at all. you know, should services be cut? i think services should be better managed. rob emmanuerom emmanuel, his adn has tried to do some of these things, but more can be done. stop mismanagement. that's where the savings could be, and that's what could be paid into the pension with these savings. >> thank you for coming to the
appropriate, we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> a number of u.s. banks shrunk to a record low dropping to 7,000 for the first time since 1934 when the fdic began tracking the industry. the total number of u.s. banks now stands at 6,891 down from a peak of 18,000 in the mid 1980's. the decline stems from community banks disappearing thanks to mergers, consolidations and failures. forget about drug testing, tobacco testing could keep some of you from your next job. the big company that has just announced it will not hire smokers. and how today's cars are sold by people you don't even see until the deal is practically done. we have that and more as "real money" continues.
>> after a relaunch following a botched roll out, the white house is aggressively reselling the affordable healthcare again. he aimed at explaining why the affordable care act was enacted and why people should be encouraged to sign up. >> right now what that law is doing, yes, you agree with me. right now what this law is doing is helping folks, and we're just getting started with the
exchanges. just getting started with the marketplaces. we're not going to walk away from them. if i got to fight another three years to make sure this law works, then that's what i do. >> the website is still the visible part of obamacare. while it seems to be working better that's only part of the battle. to make the exchanges work the president will need the young and healthy to sign up. if they don't enroll premiums could skyrocket. mike viqueira from the white house, tell us about the strategy of the next three weeks. what is the president trying to accomplish? >> he's trying to refocus attention from the bad on to the good. the white house feels largely that the problems of the website has been fixed. you saw the president in the briefing room some two weeks ago, a contrite president obama. today something more redemptive. he feels as though the next three weeks is crucial, many people feel that way. december 23rd the deadline if you're going to get insurance
through the exchanges you have to be do it by then to have insurance by the kick off of obamacare by january 1st. this is a difficult time. meanwhile the white house, the administration officials insisting that they have most of the problems all sorted out. >> mike, the roll out of obamacare has hurt public confidence in this president, and public confidence has also dropped as far as the economy is concerned. the president has a major economic speech tomorrow. tell us about it. >> reporter: well, first of all one of the things that drove the president over the three weeks, democrats on capitol hill, excuse the expression, they're freaking out. the polls came out of nowhere to upset everybody, why? because he changed his focus to the shortcomings of the website and the issues of obamacare at large. but the president tomorrow will weave all that have in, the affordable care act, into a larger theme that he has been talking about for quite some
time and he hit it in the state of the union just this year, and that is income disparity in the united states. he'll focus on that as the problem. we're very familiar with the statistics, the income of the upper 1% in the country tripled over the last 20 to 3503 years meanwhile the middle class saw their income grow at a snail's pace of 1% over that same time period. he'll talk about minimum wage. he'll look forward to it rise to $9. in the direct of columbia there is a bill to raise it to $11.50 an hour. he'll be talking about that and weaving that into a larger theme of economic disparity, policies where he wants to take the country and leading to his state of the union speech next week. >> a major u.s. employer has a strong message for potential employees. if you smoke we don't want you.
today signa announced it will not hire people who tested positive for tobacco use. here is more on what could be a growing trend. >> cigna is one of the leading insurance companies on the planet. today the company announced it's changing its hiring policy effectively telling future employees you cannot work for us if you smoke, chew tobacco or even use e significant gleets can you engage in lawful activity off duty without your employer staying you don't have a right to do so. >> on tuesday the company announced starting january 1 january 1, 2014, all perspective employees will not only be tested for drug use but nicotine use. >> a nationwide company will have to tailor their policies to the states they're in. there are states where this would be unlawful.
>> currently 21 states including texas, arizona, massachusetts, and florida, all allow employees to test for nicotine. based on the results that have screening cigna has the right to rescind job offers. current employees will not be effected unless they leave cigna and are rehired after a period of six months or longer. cigna feels it has a responsibility to help customers lead a longer life. it's designed to reduce long-term healthcare costs. smoke something responsible for $200 billion in annual health-related economic losses. the cdc says nicotine is detectable in blood days after use and some by-products may be measured in european, hair and sow lie have a. industries says this is a trend among healthcare businesses. cigna is joining a long list of
companies, that include alaska airlines, and it's using urine tests for its screening. it has i not clarified if will retest for those who tested positive. >> reporter: smokers need jobs, too. is there recourse for them in challenging jobs that they're turned down. >> reporter: they have successfully lobbied on behalf of smokers and in 29 states there are laws that protect smokers rights. the new cigna hiring policy, that would be considered illegal in those states. >> is there a slippery slope. if people are obese, are they next? >> reporter: that's always a concern but right now the federal government does not bar laws that discriminate against smokers. for that reason people think there is a slippery slope but you have to consider why.
the federal government says smokers, they are not a protected class. but the obese and other folks who may have real legitimate health issues, they are protected. >> thank you. today on twitter and facebook we've been ask you is it fair for a company not to hire you because you smoke? lee says of course it is. especially with second smoke lawsuit looming, business is business. but maria tweets, everyone needs to work. what will be next? we won't hire you if you're overweight? tell us what you think @aj real money. the financial protection bureau will have protection over not just lenders but the banks who service student loans. recent analysis of borrower complaints reveal some private
student loan services were maximizing profits for the lender at the expense of borrowers paying more interest. the oversight goes into effect next march. these days shoppers are finding their car long before it rolls out on the lot. the creative way a family-run car dealership in the midwest is adopting. we have that and more when "real money" continues. tñ
>> lisa fletcher with the stream joins us. >> when you think of the perfect place to put a beehive, times square could be an option. bees are dying, and some urban bee keeping is part of the solution. >> where are so many bees dying off? some people believe its linked to pesticide. but there is a lot to it, and we'll explore it with our bee experts. just use the hashtag aj stream. >> black friday extended from shopping malls to the car lots and it led u.s. automakers to their best november in years.
chrysler reported sales 16% over last november. gm jumped 14% and ford climbed 7%. ford's f series pick ups managed to outsell all of that company's cars. some attribute the sales to falling gas prices and aggressive promotions. dealers are bolstering their sales staff, but not all of their new hires work the show room floor. many work behind a desk in front of computer screen using the internet to bring in buyers. woody, from naperville, illinois, woody has been selling cars for 40 years. what do you make of this trend buying cars online? how is that affecting you? >> well, they're not buying them online. they're researching online. 88% of the car buyers that end up in our show room has gotten
most of their information online. that's where they're doing their research. that's where we have people on the other end online who are able, trained and able to inform them to help make the right decision. so they're not actually buying the cars online. they're doing the research. we've got a beautiful show room here and 95% of the people who communicate with us online and do their home work, they end up in the show room. so we don't have a fear of losing them in the show room. we have a fear of making sure that they make the right choice and they come see us. >> so the people in the cubicles behind the holiday decorations you have there. how does that work? >> those are the sales people, and they're working their own customers and the customers that have inquired through our business development center, maim through inquiring through our website through internet lead. we set appointments and we have a time when people are coming so
these gentlemen and ladies are waiting for the appointment to come in and the customer has narrowed down his research on what he wants. we have to have people who are trained a qualified on the internet and the telephone as well as the show room so the customers who are taking their time doing their research, when they call us, we can put a good educated--get them in the right vehicle at the right price that fits their need. >> for the commuter, what is the most important thing they should do when they're doing their research on line, they reach out to somebody, contact by your distributorship, look, i understand you're interested in a gmc truck. what information do they need right there, or what are questions that they should ask to be sure they're headed towards a great deal. >> what is a great deal? every manufacturer, everybody has a great deal from $99 a month to zero percent. but customers doing research on the car, they're looking to spend quite a bit of money,
especially in the buick, gmc line. they're looking at their options and what will be comfortable for themselves. when they're researching for the car they're looking to talk to somebody who can guide them in the right direction. mostly 88% of people who are out there, they're doing research, and they're trying to fit their needs so when they come in the show room maybe that time is minimized. >> finally-- >> the deal was getting the customer what he wants. >> how optimistic are you and your colleagues at the dealership about the future? >> we're in the process of training our whole dealership of how to help the customer who calls and comes onto our floor. >> woody, good of you to join us this holiday season. thank you for coming on the
program. >> thank you. >> how many of you have complained to an airline when they lost your luggage, treated you horribly or caused you to miss an event? the united states supreme court considered whether an airline irritated by your complaint can take away your frequent flyer miles. the airline in question is northwest airlines. and a reason buy who flies a lot, 75 times a year. in one seven months period he protested to northwest 24 times. the airline in turn canceled his frequent flyer status claiming he explained too much. the legal issue is contract law and how it applies to the fine print and frequent flier agreement. the outcome of this case expected next year already huge. how we express dissatisfaction
and the perimeters is all on the table. it's the court who will decide what will happen to those miles you have if you complain about your flight. doctors ending up with more patients and getting paid less. we'll see what that could mean as far as your choices, and likely that will mean fewer choices for you. i'm david schuster in for ali velshi. thank you for joining us, we'll see you soon.
>> hi, i'm lisa fletcher, and you're in "the stream." it's a major buzz kill that impacts us all. why are so many bees dying, and what's being done to help the hives survive. so the next time you're eating, think about this. every third bite of food can be traced back to bees. the typy insects produce more than just honey. bees help to pollinate 98% of flowers and crops. they're an integral